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Feds Accuse 10 of $10 Million Conspiracy

SAN DIEGO (CN) - Federal prosecutors unsealed an 18-count indictment accusing 10 people across the country of taking more than $10 million in a mortgage loan conspiracy, money laundering and other crimes.

Defendants Dana Merritt aka Dana Hayden, Stacey Jones and Abigail Gonzalez ran the scam through two companies: Advanced Partnership Properties and BYW Construction, both of El Cajon, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

They are accused of processing fraudulent loan applications for the other seven defendants to buy "multiple properties" in Southern California and elsewhere.

"According to the indictment, the defendants and their co-conspirators would then divert tens of thousands of dollars per transaction from the loan proceeds to BYW's bank accounts using false claims for unsecured loans, liens, and notes on construction work that was never performed," the U.S. Attorney's Office said. "After funneling the payments to BYW's bank accounts, the defendants caused the funds to be withdrawn or transferred to their own bank accounts for their own benefit and to further the scheme."

Bail was set at $50,000 for Merritt, 34, of Julian.

Most of the other defendants are to be arraigned on Thursday. They are Jones, 43, of Tucson; Gonzalez, 30, of Chicago; Leticia Miffleton, 45, of Watagua, Texas; Sharlo Burris, 38, of Fort Worth, Texas; Kendrick Green, 37, of Inglewood, Calif.; Johnese Zeigler, 32, of Los Angeles; Andre Simon, 38, of Shenandoah Junction, W. Va.; Gordon Simon, 40, of Rosedale, N.Y.; and Catherine Wheeler, 40, of Fort Worth.

Charges include conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud, aiding and abetting mail fraud and wire fraud, conspiracy to launder money, and laundering money. All are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and stiff fines.

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